Mass entertainment company Disney made an informal industry announcement yesterday that it had begun plans to produce a series of live action adaptations of classic Studio Ghibli films. With live action versions of Dumbo, Aladdin, and Lion King already scheduled for release in just 2019 alone, Disney stated it had started to look into other properties to also give the live action treatment. Disney is already known to have been a major distributor of Studio Ghibli movies throughout North America so the move was seen as the next logical step for the company as is begins to run out of movies of its own to convert.
No official statement was given as to which Ghibli films were being considered for a live action remake although rumors pointed to Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, and My Neighbor Totoro as likely candidates. Disney did state that the release would feature “major Hollywood talent” with insider leaks revealing that Will Smith had already been contacted for a potential role. Major director talent from industry veterans James Cameron and Tim Burton was also rumored to be on the table.
Disney assured fans that the completely necessary live action films would still follow the original stories of the Ghibli films with additional alterations only to “modernize” and “broaden the appeal” of the movies – something which definitely hasn’t had a history of diminishing the original tone in other adaptations. The colorful imaginative worlds of Miyazaki’s original works would also certainly not be lost in the conversion to the gritty realism of modern computer generated graphics.
No set release dates have been announced so far, although most expect the first of the live action Ghibli films to arrive sometime in 2020. Not to be outdone, production company Legendary Entertainment also announced that it had begun preliminary production on a live action Beyblade film. Legendary’s movie is set to be directed by Micheal Bay and will feature a team of young heroes who battle hyper realistic robotic spinning weapons against each other.